Posted on 02/03/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)
Good morning. Thank you so much for coming to worship with us! The Bible tells us that where two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, he is there with them. The Holy Spirit of God is here with us today, and we are honored and humbled that he would join with us as, through this virtual world, we seek him together.
A special welcome to our visitors. Please make sure to touch the welcome sign in the foyer before you leave, and accept some free gifts from us on the welcome table.
If you don't have the latest copy of the slBible Book, be sure to get one in the foyer before you leave. It has a lot of exciting new features, and you can visibly carry it around with you.
Last week I made an appeal, mentioning that if a significant amount of support didn't come in, I would be forced to step down for a time to get a second job so we could keep this ministry here in Second Life. Some of you responded generously, and we were brought very close to coming out of the negative. Thank you for your sacrifice. I believe God will bless you for it.
If you weren't here last week or weren't able to do so, I invite you to visit our website at almcyberchurch.org and prayerfully consider becoming a ministry partner with us. We're a 501(c)3 non-profit, so you can deduct your offerings from your taxes.
Let's all stand to our feet and go to the Lord in prayer.
Lord God, thank you for being with us here today. Thank you for calling all of us out of the darkness and into your marvelous light! Shine your light upon us today as we seek after you.
Lord, we bring before you Five's request for her fiance's mother who has cancer and who has been given a very discouraging word from the doctor. We ask that you give her fiance strength through this time, and that you give his mother peace. We also ask that you raise up people who will pray with and for her, and that you work a miracle on her behalf.
We pray for the unspoken requests, and for each one here or listening later. I ask that you bring healing, deliverance, renewed hunger for your word and desire for your presence. Set us on fire for you, and draw us ever closer.
We ask all these things in the name of Jesus.
Click the pulpit for a notecard, and let's worship God with song.
Great is the Lord God Almighty
Great is the Lord on High
The train of His robe fills the temple
And we cry out highest praise
Glory to the risen King
Glory to the Son, glorious Son
Lift up your heads, open the doors
Let the King of Glory come in
And forever be our God
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holy is the Lord on high
Let all the earth bow before You
And crown You Lord of all
Holy and Anointed One
Your name is like honey
on my lips
Your spirit like water
to my soul
Your Word is a lamp
unto my feet
Jesus I love you
I love you
Risen and Exalted One
I EXALT THEE
For thou O Lord art high
above all the earth
Thou art exalted
far above all gods
I exalt thee
I exalt thee
I exalt thee
You can be seated.
Are you hungry for more of God? His Holy Spirit is here with us right now. Just reach out to him, and as you draw near to God, he will draw near to you.
Lord, we just want to be close to you. And as we look into your Word, I ask that you sweep over this congregation, including those listening elsewhere or later. Speak through me, Lord, and help me to only speak your words.
Thank you Lord.
The title of my message today is "Heaven Class."
In America, we're in the middle of presidential campaigns, and we hear a lot about the middle class and lower class vs. the upper class. Classes have always existed, and to what are they usually related?
Wealth. Or the lack thereof. If you're wealthy, you are upper class. If you are poor, you are lower class.
The world tends to see those with more material wealth as being of a higher class. And yet we are not of this world. Instead of worldly priorities, we have heavenly priorities. Instead of just worldly riches, we have heavenly riches. Instead of worldly ambitions, we have heavenly ambitions.
And instead of socio-economic class, we have heaven class.
Let's read about classes in the Kingdom of Heaven in Galatians chapter three, verses twenty-six through twenty-nine.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christís, then you are Abrahamís seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Let's look at the first part of this: "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."
Sons of an earthly king are called princes. They are heirs to the kingdom. The first born will be the king, and we know that, according to Romans 8:29, Jesus is the first born among many brethren, and we are to be conformed into his image.
Revelation 1:6 tells us that Jesus has made us kings and priests to God the Father. In Old Testament times, the kings had authority over all, but they could not go into the Holy of Holies. The priests could go into the Holy of Holies, but their word was not law unless the king either accepted it or was overthrown by God.
But we have been made both kings AND priests. We can enter into the Holy of Holies by the Blood of the Lamb, AND, through the name of Jesus, we have authority over principalities and powers, over sickness and disease, and over the mental and spiritual bondages of sin and death.
So we are called to be both kings and priests, sons of the Most High God, and heirs of his promise. There then can be only one class in the Kingdom -- Heaven Class. And we who have come into the kingdom and are walking with Christ are heaven class.
In world class, the lower class work very hard for very little, the middle class may work very hard for more, and the upper class likely have many people working for them. And that can be a healthy structure from an earthly perspective. But the heaven class are all servants, not high minded and demanding, but humble and serving without demanding reciprocation.
In world class, the rich might sometimes look down upon the poor, and the poor often resent the rich. The rich are able to supply their physical needs, while the poor might suffer and die for lack. But in heaven class, God supplies for all our needs according to the measure of his riches in glory, and we cannot rightly look down upon anyone.
Now this isn't to say that there is no authority. In fact, if we don't submit to the authority God has put in place, we are rebelling against God.
Romans 13:1-2 says, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves."
Now the context of this is speaking of the authority of our respective governments. But what we see here is a principle. Just as servitude is a trait every believer is expected to develop, so is an attitude of submission. And by removing ourselves from under spiritual authority, we remove ourselves from under the spiritual covering and protection God has placed over us, and are outside of Kingdom order.
But within this governmental order God has established for order, accountability, and protection in the Church, there is only one class -- heaven class.
We all too often allow ourselves to be defined by the measure of the world. But when we do so, we are thinking with the mind of the world.
So when you feel as though you are in a lower class because you don't have a wealth of earthly riches, say to yourself instead, "I am heaven class."
When you feel as though you are somehow lower because you don't have a position in the world of power and authority, say to yourself, "I am a king and a priest to God the Father."
And next time you feel as though you are alone in the world, say to yourself, "I am a son or daughter of God, an heir of his inheritance. My father is here with me by his Holy Spirit. My elder brother is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I am seated with him in heavenly places, in the spirit realm. And when I worship God, I am standing around the throne in heavenly places, worshiping with the angels and the saints of old. And if I could pull back the veil from my eyes, I would get a glimpse into my glorious future, which is but a vapor's length away -- dwelling forever in the slendor and majesty of the undiluted glory and presence of the God of eternity.
If you've experienced deep times of worship in which everything else ceased to exist and you were overcome by the awesome beauty and glory of the presence of God, then you have a small idea of what this will be. If you haven't entered in that deeply, then you can't really know what I'm talking about.
But you can. You can experience something that far overshadows anything the world has to offer. No drug, no high, no sexual experience, no mental ascent, no deep trance or explosively intense lucid dream can lay a finger on the manifest presence of the Living God.
And to be granted the right to pursue and enter in to this, you need only be heaven class.
Heaven class is an equal opportunity. It is a narrow gate. But it is open to whoever will come.
Will you come? Will you enter in to the family of God? All those around you who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and walk through life with him are heaven class. You can stay in the world and be judged by what you have and who you command. Or you can be spiritually born into a new kingdom, the Kingdom of God, where there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; but we all are sons and daughters of the King of all kings, kings and priests, heirs of Salvation and joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord.
I'd like for the ministry team to come to the front now.
If you don't know the presence of God as I described it, either because you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord, or because you have simply never entered into that level of worship for whatever reason, step out of your seat and come to the front.
I'd like to pray with you now. Whether you are giving your life to Jesus for the first time or simply want to experience his manifest presence, just pray along with me between you and God in your own words. Pray this with me.
Jesus, I want to know you in the fullness of your glory. I ask you to forgive me for my sins. I surrender my life to you. I accept your sacrifice for my sins, Jesus. Make me a part of your family. Make me heaven class. And I ask that you reveal yourself to me in your glory. I want to enter into a deep, intimate, overwhealming encounter with you.
Right where you are, sitting there in front of your computer or wherever you may be, if you can, just raise your hands up to God in surrender and in an act of reaching out to him, and just begin to worship him.
*** unscripted worship ***